Top 10 Articles: The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban

I have been meaning to write this post for a while.

Eagle-eyed readers will have noted the huge number of links each week in my Don’t miss these great links! series to The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban, an old school weightlifting and strongman blog, featuring articles written (mostly quite a while ago) by some fairly huge names in the history of weightlifting and strongman.

It is probably my favorite site at the moment.

It’s not really a top 10 articles, as it’s quite hard to pull out just 10 of the articles on the site.  It’s more of a reading selection to give an idea of what is on there.  There are articles profiling some of the greats, articles with suggested mass-gaining programmes, articles about dieting down for competition, you name it, it’s there. 

And once you get into the site, it’s hard to stop.  It just sort of gets under your skin.  Next time you’re in the gym you’ll find the strange urge to do multiple sets of low reps of  single exercise before going home to drink a few pints of cream… You’ll probably notice how much my workouts are influenced by some of the programmes detailed…


Enough rambling! Get to the articles already!

OK, relax…  Here they are.  Enjoy them.

  1. Strength Training without the use of Drugs – Anthony Ditillo: this very emotionally felt post from the author of the site describes a great drug-free lifter, Deszo Ban, and the volume-intensive strength training routine he used to achieve the significant lifts he recorded.  Interestingly for me, his preferred sets and reps routines were 8-12 sets of 3-5 reps.  You can read more about Deszo here.
  2. Chins – David Willoughby: I think this is the only article on chinning or pull-ups on the whole site but it beats the hell out of just about any other post on advanced chinning training and history that I’ve ever read.  I mean, you’d probably forgive the giants of the strength world if they quietly ignored the chin, with its strong emphasis on relative over absolute strength.  This article goes quite a long way to show that the idea that your relative strength must go down as your weight goes up isn’t necessarily always true.  Interestingly, I disagree with the main point of the training section, which suggests that if you can chin 2/3 of your bodyweight then you should be able to do a one-arm chin.  I think technique has a lot to do with it.
  3. Back Specialisation – Bradley Steiner: this article is a great example of one of the really practical articles on the site.  It begins with a detailed explanation of the importance of back training, goes on to explain the main muscle groups (without getting overly technical) and then moves on to a specific programme, all the while injecting humour and easy-going banter into the writing.
  4. Bulk – C S Sloan: this article is a rare instance of someone (other than me, who doesn’t really count in these esteemed circles) recommending 10 sets of 3 reps for gaining strength and muscle mass.
  5. Marvin Eder – Gene Mozee: this description of Doug Hepburn’s unofficial weightlifting duel with Marvin Eder will have you on the edge of your seat and some of the strength feats are inspirational.  Marvin’s ability to do 11 one-arm pull-ups at a bodyweight of 198lbs gives me hope that I can keep my relative strength as I increase in size and his squaring off with Hepburn (70lbs heavier than him) makes me think I should man up and do strongman sooner rather than later…
  6. Goerner’s Deadlift Variations – Brooks Kubik: another great practical article but at the same time a hugely enjoyable history lesson in how one of the all-time great strongmen achieved their remarkable ability.  Brooks walks us through 6 variations of the one-hand deadlift that Goerner used and 12 variations of the two-hand deadlift.
  7. The Hepburn Routine – Bill Starr: it is always fascinating to see the advanced routines of a truly talented lifter.  This routine, used to great effect by Doug Hepburn, is set out very clearly by Bill Starr.  I am sorely tempted to try it and see whether it works for my pull-ups or dips.
  8. Louis Cyr – W A Pullum: a fun history of a great historical strongman, including insights into his early life as well as some detail about the lifts he made on stage in various parts of the world.
  9. When More Training is Better – Bill Starr: I include this article mainly because I’m particularly interested in increasing my training frequency at the moment.  However, it’s also a great example of one of the articles about training theory on the site.
  10. Tom Platz on Squatting: this is a lengthy and detailed interview with one of bodybuilding’s unicorns.  What are you waiting for?

Well, that’s my top 10 selection at the moment.  It’ll probably change before the next time I write about it.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy this site as much as I do.

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